Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don Meyer Training at the Brooklyn Public Library May 8 & 9

On May 8 & 9, after a fabulous sibling day at the YAI conference, Don Meyer will conduct a two-day Sibshop training for siblings, parents and service providers. Find out more at http://siblingsupport.wetpaint.com/page/Workshop+Series - Don doesn't get to NY very often so please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Sibling/Parent Disconnect: An Age-Old Issue

The other day, my supervisor told me that he found a book in the swap pile in the laundry room of his apartment building. It was called "It Isn't Fair: Siblings of Children with Disabilities" (you can find it here, on Amazon). Although it was first published in 1993 by Exceptional Parent Press, the cover photo suggests the 80s and the content goes back to as early as 1972. It was really interesting to read an article orginally published in Exceptional Parent magazine which was an interview with four siblings in their 20s. Many of the issues resonated with me and it struck me that sibling issues are shared by sibs not only across state lines and oceans, but across the decades. What was even more interesting to me was the case studies with parents, who often had no clue about what their typically developing children were feeling and why. Although they had a real desire to help their children, they genuinely had a lot of trouble understanding how having a brother or sister with a disability was impacting their other children. I believe that holds true today, based on the conversations I've had with many parents and even from reading a recent book chapter by a parent advocate. Reading his accounts of raising a child with autism and his typically developing brother, and seeing the boys' relationship through their father's eyes, was a bit unsettling. The concept of "fair" is tricky to begin with, but it seemed to me that there were some pretty high expectations for a typically developing three-year-old, without a lot of understanding of HIS special needs. This is why it is so important for siblings to share their stories with parents, service providers, and each other. We have a lot to offer our brothers, sisters and families. With the right amount of encouragement, support and room to grow into our own selves, siblings can play a very positive role throughout their siblings' lives.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Reduced Hotel Rate - YAI Conference

From the YAI Confernce (it was a battle but they succeeded):
We are pleased to inform you that the Crowne Plaza Manhattan Hotel has agreed to offer a reduced rate of $255.00 (plus applicable taxes) per night for YAI conference attendees. To receive this rate call ASAP and no later than April 10. If you have already reserved at the higher rate the Crowne Plaza has informed us that the rate will automatically be adjusted to $255.00. To make a reservation call: 1-800-243-6969 and ask for the YAI Conference Discount Rate.